Two horse race
Market researcher ICS has teamed up with web development service Appcelerator to survey 2.363 web developers about their perceptions and needs in the mobile device era. This fascinating study reveals a lot about the direction of the industry, especially concerning the two currently dominant platforms: Apple's iOS and Google's Android.
As you would expect, iOS dominates a lot of the questions concerning current commercial appeal. It's the more mature, established and sophisticated platform and currently the biggest marketplace. But 59 percent of the survey reckoned Android presents the best long-term outlook, versus only 35 percent for iOS.
Another area in which Google is edging out Apple is in convergent TV platforms, but it might be a bit disappointed with the margin given the limited scope of Apple's offering so far.
Expanding the survey to all platforms, we get an idea quite how far ahead of the pack, regarding mobile apps, these two platforms are. Even if we assume the majority of respondents are developing with the US market as a priority, the scale of Nokia's challenge is clear. Symbian is less desirable than even webOS for tablets, which isn't even launched yet! As for MeeGo...
Regarding the types of things being developed, native apps are clearly winning the battle over web-based and, in terms of the APIs used in their apps, the UI and local database come top of the list. Nearly three quarters of the apps currently being developed by respondents are consumer ones, as opposed to business. Unsurprisingly, social networking was the most popular category.
Here are a few screenshots taken from the full Appcelerator/IDC report, illustrating the above.